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My First Time Snowboarding
Rating :

Kilnovec, Czech Republic
Mar 07, 2003

Pros: great fun and very entertaining
Cons: Palmers, not chairlifts

The past weekend, I went snowboarding for the first time with 3 friends from residence (Aly from Toronto, Vincent from Montreal, and Bex from New Zealand) and one of my Czech friends, Vera. The resort is about 2.5 hours Northwest of Prague.

We left at 6:30am on Saturday morning to take a tram to the car rental agency in the old city. Seeing as I was fighting a losing battle against a stomach ailment from a fried cheese sandwich the night before, I decided to take an Immodium pill before we left. Not to get too graphic, but I found out about an hour and thirty minutes into our trip that the way Immodium works is it dries up your stomach and drains it via your bladder. We were already in the countryside and there was no gas station in site and stopping on the side of the one lane (for both ways) highway would have been far too dangerous. Seeing as I was driving the manual car, I quickly switched into 5th gear and put the pedal to the metal. As the beads of sweat began to form on my forehead and my bladder neared an explosion tantamount to Pearl Harbour, I raced through the winding mountain roads. We finally pulled into the parking lot of the resort which was luckily surrounded by a thick forest. I ran to the closest tree I could find which was out of sight of all the young families and enjoyed sweet relief.

Then came the snowboarding. We started our run at the top of the hill. I took quite a few spills on my way down but it was very fun, more so than skiing. The problem was when I got to the bottom of the hill. Instead of a nice chairlift to get to the top, this resort had palmers which are basically long braided steel ropes with a little plate on the end that you put through your legs and it pulls you up the mountain. For skiing it makes a lot of sense, but on a snowboard you’re standing sideways and it doesn’t work quite as well. When you’re not actually snowboarding, one of your feet is detached from the board so you can push yourself. I managed to make it to the gate and was quite pleased. I pushed myself up to the loading area and waited for the palmer. As it came around, I grabbed it, put it through my legs and as I tried to get my back foot on the snowboard, the tension tightened on the rope, jerking me forward and knocking me directly onto my ass. I got up and tried again…I miserably failed. I went to the back of the line to give myself a break and regroup. As I approached the palmer again, the 2 lift operators rolled their eyes back in their heads and began jabbering in Czech. I’m not sure what they said, but their hysterics gave me a pretty good idea. For a third time the palmer put me directly on my ass. I came back for a fourth attempt as determined as the Leafs are to win the cup this year (GO LEAFS GO!). I put the palmer between my legs, got my foot in and held on for dear life. I managed to get on for about 15 feet before hitting a rut in the trail and planting my face right in the snow, hitting my jaw on the way down. I heard loud snickering from a group of people and looked up to see a group of about 25 ten year old children howling away. At least I provided some good entertainment for them, a great source of consolation. I eventually made it up and had a great weekend and by the end could almost get down a full run without falling. I must say that as an accomplished skier, this was a very humbling weekend.